I agree with Bob’s list and would add:


If you have a Gartner contract, ask Gartner to review pricing for your finalist companies and also ask what the track record is for each company of price increases at renewal. We got a lot of important insights and information from Gartner on our finalists.


As Bob said, licensing is critical to your on-going costs. Concurrent licensing will always cost less and is has far less administrative overhead than named seat.

If you are going with a cloud solution, ask whether you will be on a server with other instances.  This becomes important if there are issues and makes a fail over to a backup data center slower and more complex.

Ask about how their monitoring and notifications work if you are cloud hosted

Pay attention to their SLAs

Ask whether their data centers are in the US (primary and secondary) and how they determine whether/when to fail over in the event of an outage.

As for professional services – we wrote into our contract that the vendor can’t outsource to a partner. It seems the standard language is that they reserve the right to outsource professional services. Also, if you plan to use professional services, negotiate the daily rate. It’s a good place to save money.

Ask for references in our industry

Ask about support SLAs, especially if you are going cloud. We learned that the test instance doesn’t have the same SLA as the production instance. This might not be a big deal if your running steady state in prod, but when you are building/configuring in test with a deadline to roll to production, time often matters.

Ask the vendor to describe how they monitor/manage license counts. What happens if you hit the limit? Is there grace count? Monthly true up? Or if you have 100 licenses and all are in use, is person #101 denied access? This is probably more important for concurrent use than named seat.

Ask for a demo of the mobile client

Ask about accessibility features

Also ask about whether their web interface is responsive or adaptive.

If cloud, ask how much access and control they have in the data center where your instance will be hosted.

If cloud, how many redundant paths to the internet do they provide out of their data center and are the internet connections with different vendors? What is the track record of those vendors?

If cloud, do you have an option to move on premise if the performance is not acceptable

If cloud, ask about how authentication works  and what is the compatibility with whatever method you currently use?

When you get to contract negotiations, if you sign a 3 or 5 year agreement for instance,  ask for the renewal cost to remain flat.  Depending on the company, you may not get what you ask for, but you can negotiate a fixed percent increase for renewal and be able to predict your future  costs.

Ask how often they release updates and what the update road map looks like. Do they do small incremental releases on a regular schedule? How often do they do major releases? What enhancements are on the roadmap over the next year?


I’m sure there is more and if I think of anything that is a high priority, I’ll respond again. Best of luck with the process. Feel free to reach out to me if I can help in any way.





Taj Wolff, MBA | Director, ITSM | Information Technology | Vanderbilt University
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| phone 615.343.1621 | it.vanderbilt.edu

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From: The EDUCAUSE IT Service Management (ITSM) Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bob Gribben
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 7:08 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ITSM] ITSM Tool Business Requirements


Licensing...Is there a different price for part time student workers vs. full time? Congruent licensing?

Uptime? Payback model for when the system is down?

Professional Services added on? Get some for free.

Just a few that come to mind


Bob Gribben



On Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 7:49:27 AM EDT, Evans, Michael David <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



As our University looks to a new ITSM tool, is there anything that those of you who when through this RFP process would give as advice?


Business/technical requirements you would recommend including, and prioritizing, in an RFP?

Something that should be/have been included in the scope of work, expectations of support, etc…?


Thanks in advance,




Michael David Evans


Director of Computing Operations

University of Delaware

Lerner College of Business & Economics

034 Purnell Hall

Newark, DE 19716


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